Scout leads Little River cleanup
By Aaron Moore
Published in News on June 13, 2010 1:50 AM
The Little River is running cleaner today after 15-year-old Boy Scout Casey Wood spearheaded a project last month to clean up a six-mile stretch from Capps Bridge Road to the bridge on N.C. 581.
Wood said he came up with the project after the Tuscarora Council decided it wanted to perform 100,000 hours of community service as part of this year's 100 Years of Scouting anniversary and asked for ideas from the Scouts. His was the one chosen for the Torhunta District.
"Gosh, there were a lot of people," Wood said, describing the effort his project took, which took 2,000 man hours to complete.
Over the two-day span, May 1-2, he said there were anywhere from 40 to 60 people helping with the project, which involved members of his Troop 581 from northern Wayne County, as well as others from Troops 12, 8, 3 and 14.
Learning is a key part of Scouting, however, and before the boys could begin the clean-up, they had to learn something about the local plant and wildlife from Travis Kornegay, who came from North Carolina State University to share his knowledge about the local ecosystem.
"(Little River) is the only sandy-bottomed river in North Carolina," said Wood, referencing some of what he learned.
As always in Boy Scouts, safety came first during this project, and the Scouts relied on their leaders to remove some of the heavier, more unwieldy debris before the clean-up could get started. Some of the pre-cleaning work involved going in with chainsaws and removing fallen trees, according to Wood -- but nature was not their only obstacle.
"There was a bunch of stuff," he said, listing such items as tires, bathtubs, washing machines, picnic tables and even dog kennels.
Fortunately, Wood said, when the Scouts took the refuse to the Wayne County landfill, the employees there allowed them to dump their garbage for free.
Among the many leaders who helped with the project was Wood's own Scoutmaster, Danny Street, who submitted Wood's idea of cleaning up Little River to the Tuscarora Council, and who Wood credits as being an instrumental part of his project.
"They helped me out a lot," he said, speaking of Street and his son, Josh Street, who is Troop 581's informal assistant Scoutmaster.
Wood also wished to give credit to Daniel Lancaster, Robert Jones, Gary Lancaster, Margaret Lancaster and Johnny Ray Pierce, who own the land the Scouts cleaned and allow the troops to camp there.
Despite the monumental size of the job, Wood said it will not count as his Eagle Project.
"I wish it was my Eagle Project." he said. "I'm hoping the Eagle Project will be a breeze after this."
Wood is currently a Star Scout, two ranks below Eagle.